The first naturalised football player to wear a Malaysian shirt is likely to be Gambia’s Mohamadou Sumareh, according to New Straits Times.
Even though the FA of Malaysia (FAM) are still at a planning stage to include naturalised players for the national team, the Malaysian newspaper reported that striker Sumareh looks to be in contention.
The 23-year-old Gambian has already received his Malaysian citizenship in April, after making his debut with Police in the Malaysia League in 2013.
And this could open the doors for him to turn out for Harimau Malaya.
Sumareh, who helped Pahang win the FA Cup earlier this month, has stated his willingness to receive a call-up from coach Tan Cheng Hoe for the AFF Cup in November.
“If I get a call-up to play with the national squad, it will be an honour for me and I will try and help their campaign as well as I can,” said the striker.
Sumareh has been residing in Malaysia since he was 13 years old, and he started his pro career at the age of 17. He feels that Malaysia is his “first home”.
“I grew up here and started my professional career here as well. If a player from another country is called up to play for Malaysia, he might have been here for a short while, but I have been in Malaysia longer.
“And so if people say that naturalised players are not patriotic, for me it’s not true.
“If I do not take up this opportunity seriously, I will not only be a traitor to the country, but a traitor to myself as well.
“I always give my best to my club, so there is no reason why I can’t give 100 per cent to Malaysia as well. I know there will be much pressure on any naturalised player to perform, but I always shine under pressure,” said Sumareh.